MODALITY

Modality is the language user’s attitude towards the world. It is related to things such as certainty, possibility, willingness, obligation, necessity and ability.

CAN | WILL (affirmative declarative clause)

A1 point 1 in the category of CLAUSES is defined: affirmative declarative clauses with modal verbs. The English Grammar Profile examples include: ‘can’ and ‘will’.  Future simple modality is also covered here. Here are STUDENT EXAMPLES: A lot of farmers can read and write, but they didn’t complete high school. PELIC Chinese female level 3 writing class.   I will go to New York on Thanksgiving day. Korean female level …

CAN | WILL (affirmative declarative clause) Read More »

can’t bear + to-infinitive

In the English Vocabulary Profile at B2, ‘bear’ is defined: accept someone or something unpleasant For example: I can’t bear to see him like this. listen *There are other uses of ‘bear’ that are more advanced.  However, the sense defined above has a distinct grammar pattern: (CAN | COULD) (often negative) + bear + (to-infinitive | Verb-ing | noun phrase) Verb-ing …

can’t bear + to-infinitive Read More »

Would you mind?

Here are the most common examples with explanations of ‘would you mind‘: Would you mind if I took your picture? Listen to the pronunciation   Point 83 at B1 in the category of MODALITY is defined as: ‘would’ to make polite requests, often in the fixed expression ‘would you mind’ ‘Would you mind’ is also B1 in the EVP and in the …

Would you mind? Read More »

must see

Usually, must is a modal verb. You must see this movie. You must see the difference. (see can mean understand/notice) However, ‘must’ can be a noun. It’s a must. = This is a thing that you must do. There are new combinations: As an adjective: It’s a must-see movie. =  It’s a movie that you …

must see Read More »

may | might + as well

If you want to make an unenthusiastic suggestion or say you are not enjoying, interested in, or approving of something, then you can use this grammar structure with ‘may as well‘ or ‘might as well‘. Here are some examples.  The first is a student speaking test example: You might as well just open the door to an unknown person. TLC female Mexico B2 Expert …

may | might + as well Read More »

‘AS’ + pronoun + ‘USED’ + to-infinitive

Student example in a speaking test: I don’t think that they pay enough attention towards the national customs as they used to do those days. TLC female Sri Lanka B2 Point 236 in the category of MODALITY is defined: ‘as’ + pronoun + ‘used to’ to add background to a narrative, often to highlight something unusual A search in iWeb for: as_C _P used_V _TO _VV 1 AS …

‘AS’ + pronoun + ‘USED’ + to-infinitive Read More »

WOULD + adverb (wide range)

Let’s look at some examples of ‘would’ + a wide range of adverbs: They would eventually become the oppressive hand of the Russian government.  (Listen) What would normally take him maybe a day or something to solder by hand, he can do in a few minutes using this machine.  (Listen)   Point 234 in the category of MODALITY is defined: wide range of adverbs with ‘would’, including ‘undoubtedly’, ‘possibly’, ‘normally’, ‘personally’, ‘eventually’, ‘obviously’, ‘significantly’, …

WOULD + adverb (wide range) Read More »

‘be careful not to disturb them’ (adjective + ‘NOT TO’ + infinitive)

Here’s a student example in a speaking test of ‘BE + adjective + not + to-infinitive‘ to give emphasis: When you walk, you should be careful not to disturb them because they are all below you. TLC male Sri Lanka B1 *We can also write: You should be careful that you do not disturb them… Point 230 in the category of MODALITY is defined as: ‘BE’ + ADJECTIVE + ‘NOT’ …

‘be careful not to disturb them’ (adjective + ‘NOT TO’ + infinitive) Read More »

used not to

The following rare student writing example shows how ‘used not to’ expresses modality: Also when I was younger, I used not to be allowed to drink coffee. PELIC Korean female level 3 grammar class. It sounds more natural to say: “I didn’t use to be allowed to drink coffee.” *In other words, she did not have permission to drink coffee.  Although now she is an adult and can. Point 227 …

used not to Read More »

IF clause + SHALL clause

Here’s an expert example of using a conditional clause + ‘shall’ clause to express modality: Come on, if we don’t share a similar social consciousness, how shall we discuss social problems? Listen to this sentence. C2 point 225 in the category of MODALITY is defined: ‘shall’ in the main clause after an ‘if-‘ clause conditionals Long open queries are impossible on iWeb, so here we first look for the …

IF clause + SHALL clause Read More »

adverb RESPONSE TOKENS

When you ‘listen’ to someone speaking in a conversation, you can respond with short phrases that add to the conversation. These utterances carry information and sometimes a single word like an adverb is all you might say. C2 point 224 in the category of MODALITY/adverbs is defined: adverbs expressing certainty as short responses Here is …

adverb RESPONSE TOKENS Read More »

IT NEEDS REPLACING. (‘need’ + gerund)

Although gerunds are covered in a few different ways across a few CEFR levels in the English Grammar Profile, there is no entry given to the use of a gerund after ‘need’ as MODALITY which is listed by PEARSON: GSE 63 B2 ‘need’ with verbs in the gerund to express necessity. ‘need’ + Verb Phrase …

IT NEEDS REPLACING. (‘need’ + gerund) Read More »

‘would rather’ | ‘it’s time’ + PAST TENSE CLAUSE

Here we look at examples of using ‘the past tense’ in a way that is not referring to past time.  In these EXPERT EXAMPLES: It’s time we started to think about the environment and a little bit less about money. Isle of Man Newspapers As an environmentalist, we would rather that didn’t happen. TED ‘the past tense’ expresses a wish that is distanced from the real situation. In reality, they are not thinking …

‘would rather’ | ‘it’s time’ + PAST TENSE CLAUSE Read More »